If you are taking those first steps into sourcing a PPM tool then you have found this just in time.  As more and more organisations develop their project management skills they find that skills and training are not enough. They see that if they want to get consistency and develop their maturity a PPM tool will be essential.  But then comes the challenge, which of the hundreds of tools should they choose?  Most of them probably haven’t bought one before, or if they have then they likely chose poorly.

Luckily there is hope and it isn’t just a lottery.  In this piece and the YouTube video we are going to run you through some key does and don’ts.

PPM tool; PPM software selection; PRINCE2 software

Rule 1 – this PPM tool seems like it is too good to be true

You should trust your senses.  The market has grown rapidly with many new solutions providing little in the way of capability but promising amazing results.  Some organisations at the very lowest levels of maturity may find these collaboration and task management tools a good fit.  But they wont go beyond tactical results into the realm of PPM benefits.

Rule 2 – your PPM tool needs to match your maturity

Many people have tried and many have failed.  This isn’t some heroic quote from Lord of the Rings. But the idea that you can solve your problems by throwing a sophisticated tool at them is most definitely pure fiction!  If you have low PPM maturity you need a tool to match.  Yes you want one with some growth room, but it must be close to your current situation, not your ultimate aspirations.  Your colleagues in other organisations may well be successfully using very sophisticated tools.  They are likely also getting great results, but that is because they are more mature and the match is a good one.

Rule 3 – consider the needs of all stakeholders in your choice

Yes the management team may be providing the funding for the PPM tool.  But it is the PMs and project teams who will be providing the perspiration.  If your choice doesn’t bring benefits to all the stakeholders (and certainly these two key groups) then it will fail.  We blogged on a related and relevant topic derived from our survey results recently, read it here.

Rule 4 – time isn’t always on your side

You want the benefits of your PPM tool as soon as possible so you had better plan a sensible roll out.  If possible you should always run a pilot and then roll out in tranches.  A big bang launch can work but it requires lots of planning and a heavy investment in training and mentoring to give it any chance.  You should always treat your new PPM tool like a business change and manage it on that timescale.

Rule 5 – you can’t please all of the people all of the time

Well actually you can and plenty of people try to do exactly that.  They assemble a huge shopping list of everyone’s requirements and look for a tool that does them all.  If they are really unlucky they will find one or pay to have one produced for them!  Such ‘everything’ systems are incredibly expensive, complex and nigh on impossible to implement with a black hole demand for training.

If you must have a shopping list use the MoSCoW principle and limit your Musts to essential core features that all stakeholder groups agree on.

See the PPM tool selection video

Hopefully you have found that brief summary of the points helpful.  If so you might like to watch the video discussion on YouTube for some finer detail.

If you want to know more about maturity concepts then our two part series will be very helpful.  Part one on the theory and part two on how you can make improvements.

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